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How quickly do women gain muscle mass?

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  • How quickly do women gain muscle mass?

    In general terms, assuming a SL5x5 program with substantial protein intake (=>LBM in grams)?

    I realize this is HUGELY dependant on about eleventy billion different factors, but does anyone have just a ballpark outtayerhat guess?
    Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

    ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~

  • #2
    Eklecktika....I know its not what you want to hear but it is an impossible question to answer. Reason being, we are all different. And everyone responds to any excercise program differently. And the other side of that is it is your gaining muscle mass quickly is completely dependent on you eating the MOST optimal diet for that purpose as well as you controlling your environment to obtain that goal.Like you said, eleventy billion factors determine it.

    But I can say this..(and maybe this will help ease your mind a little)...there is no study that shows any difference that I am aware of between men and women with regard to the speed of acquiring muscle mass. Genetics plays a big part...and men can and will ultimately gain more mass given the same program over a longer period of time (its hormonal...sexual dimorphism at its best/worst!)...but women can gain it just as quickly.

    Hope this helps. Have you tried Batty? She may know something more about this....
    If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
    James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

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    • #3
      if you are worried that you will look like those bodybuilder women with huge muscle, deep voice, manly looking...then dont worry

      those women are chemically enhanced and workout hours in the gym every day..

      women do NOT have the amount of testerone to build big heavy muscles...we just dont!

      if a woman is training perfectly and eating perfectly, gaining 1 pound of ACTUAL MUSCLE is not exactly easy...

      lift HEAVY and dont worry.

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      • #4
        a long time...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RachelRD View Post
          if you are worried that you will look like those bodybuilder women with huge muscle, deep voice, manly looking...then dont worry

          those women are chemically enhanced and workout hours in the gym every day..

          women do NOT have the amount of testerone to build big heavy muscles...we just dont!

          if a woman is training perfectly and eating perfectly, gaining 1 pound of ACTUAL MUSCLE is not exactly easy...

          lift HEAVY and dont worry.
          I agree with everything above, but I think the OP actually wants to gain mass - you go girl!

          As for the initial question, everyone is different, but it could take years for a woman to gain any significant amount of muscle mass. Be patient and try to enjoy the process rather than getting hung up on the end result.
          "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

          "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

          My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

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          • #6
            It also depends on where you start I think. If you are coming from a place of very low muscle mass for your frame it will take a while to get started (by trying to get the body used to working out and actually USING the strength in those muscles) then you can gain muscle fairly rapidly until you get to a normal level and then it gets hard again.
            MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

            "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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            • #7
              In 8 months I've gained 15 Lbs while dropping bodyfat by eating paleo and croasfitting. I started out a 5' 4 " 100 lb yoga chic. Meat and lifting heavy are key I think. Oh and I'm 28 and have never been super athletic and always thin.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Melody View Post
                In 8 months I've gained 15 Lbs while dropping bodyfat by eating paleo and croasfitting. I started out a 5' 4 " 100 lb yoga chic. Meat and lifting heavy are key I think. Oh and I'm 28 and have never been super athletic and always thin.
                Congratulations Melody! That is phenomenal. But more importantly than how you look....how do you feel now?
                If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
                James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

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                • #9
                  Extremely slowly unless you inject yourself with male hormones. I remember when my mom tried to work out, and after months of doing it consistently she was still weaker than her sedentary 14 year old son (me 5 years ago).
                  In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alex Good View Post
                    Extremely slowly unless you inject yourself with male hormones. I remember when my mom tried to work out, and after months of doing it consistently she was still weaker than her sedentary 14 year old son (me 5 years ago).
                    Yes, but I schooled some rowdy teenagers at the gym today.
                    MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

                    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Alex Good View Post
                      Extremely slowly unless you inject yourself with male hormones. I remember when my mom tried to work out, and after months of doing it consistently she was still weaker than her sedentary 14 year old son (me 5 years ago).
                      Yeah, but she wasn't killing weights crossfit-style, I'm sure. I think with a good (cholesterol and meat-rich) diet and the right moves, women will have no problem gaining strength.

                      And I say strength as opposed to mass, because isn't that what matters most for both sexes? Though I suppose I don't MIND gaining some decent muscle mass on my legs and butt independent of strength. It would balance me out a bit. But, it's not a primary goal of mine at all. I'd rather look womanly, tiny, and innocent and then be able to kick someone's ass than look obviously muscular.

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                      • #13
                        1/2 pound muscle every 2 weeks at very very ideal conditions

                        From over at Body Recomp,
                        General Philosophies of Muscle Mass Gain | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald

                        "How Fast Can You Actually Gain Muscle Mass?"

                        We live in an instant gratification society and are constantly bombarded with amazing claims; while this is probably most true in the world of weight loss, itís not much different when it comes to muscle gain.

                        Magazines advertise 20 pounds or rock hard muscle in a mere 8-10 weeks, a supplement promises 5 lbs of muscle in 3 days or whatever; all around we see claims of rapid gains in muscle mass. Sadly, this is all basically bullshit. Yeah, with glycogen loading or creatine you can increase lean body mass (not the same as muscle mass) fairly rapidly but beyond that, skeletal muscle actually grows fairly slowly.

                        How slowly?

                        On average, a natural male doing everything right will be doing very well to gain 1/2 of pound muscle per week. A female might gain half that or about 1/2 pound muscle every 2 weeks.

                        Letís put that in perspective: over a full year of training, assuming the trainee is doing everything right, thatís 26 pounds of the good stuff for men (13 pounds for women). Which, if you think about it, actually isnít that awful. Itís simply awful compared to what people think they are going to get based on the false promises in the magazines (or the claims of drug using bodybuilders).

                        That assumes that half-pound is gained week-in, week-out for the entire year. Oddly, and somewhat tangentially, it usually doesnít work that way. Trainees may go a long time with no measurable gains and then wake up several pounds heavier seemingly overnight. I have no idea why, thatís just how it usually works.

                        Iíd note that, under the right conditions (usually underweight high school kids), much faster rates of gain are often seen or reported. But these tend to be exceptions to the rule more than the norm and since Iím usually writing for the average male trainee whoís not 15 years old with raging hormones, I donít consider those values very illustrative. And, occasionally, when the stars are right, and everything clicks, a true one pound per week of muscle mass gain may be seen for short periods. But again, that tends to be the exception.

                        Let me reiterate: the average male trainee is doing well to gain about 1/2 pound muscle per week, 2 pounds per month or about 24-26 pounds per year. Iíd note that that will generally only happen in the first year of training and things slow down after that. A female may be gaining about half that much, 1 pound per month of actual muscle tissue or 10-12 pounds per year. I know it sucks but thatís reality.

                        If it's just mass your after, than just make sure every single time you come within sight of something edible you eat. Eat at a 1000-2000 cal surplus for a month and you will gain mass, but of course this won't just be muscle.

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                        • #14
                          I knew it was going to be hard to answer, if it was even possible.

                          Originally posted by RachelRD View Post
                          if you are worried that you will look like those bodybuilder women with huge muscle, deep voice, manly looking...then dont worry

                          those women are chemically enhanced and workout hours in the gym every day..

                          women do NOT have the amount of testerone to build big heavy muscles...we just dont!

                          if a woman is training perfectly and eating perfectly, gaining 1 pound of ACTUAL MUSCLE is not exactly easy...

                          lift HEAVY and dont worry.
                          I appreciate the reassurance, Rachel. I got over the OMGyouhavemusclesandyou'reagrrrl in about the sixth grade because it was either that, or find a different place to live. Farm work (like hauling hay) every summer built me some rockin' arms/shoulders in high school. There's a certain notoriety that comes with a) being known in the next town as the cheerleader with the great legs and b) being known for winning the class arm wrestling contest in 7th grade.

                          Especially when you can rock your sz 5slim wranglers with room to spare.


                          Originally posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post
                          I agree with everything above, but I think the OP actually wants to gain mass - you go girl!

                          As for the initial question, everyone is different, but it could take years for a woman to gain any significant amount of muscle mass. Be patient and try to enjoy the process rather than getting hung up on the end result.
                          Thanks Al! You nailed it...absolutely looking to build mass. And I am most definitely enjoying it. Between you and Palfrey, I'll have my butt whipped into shape sooner, rather than later.

                          Here's why I'm wondering about the socalled 'Rate of Gain':

                          I'm solidly in ketosis, and have been since the end of January. I've bounced out a couple days here and there, but no more than a week total. I eat a ton of potein-100 grams+ / day. I peeked with the calipers (shhhhh don't tell I'm supposed to be on the Whole30!) and per that,

                          I've cut 3% body fat (27.6->24.5) and gained 2.5 lbs LBM. In less than a month.

                          Reasonable? Or, maybe a better question-is that even possible?
                          Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

                          ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~

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                          • #15
                            All calipers tell you is the (probable) thickness of the subcutaneous fat in one spot. There is a positive correlation with bodyfat percentage, but the precise relationship is going to be different for everybody, and every place you test. It's possible that the spot you were testing lost fat more quickly than the rest of your body, in which case the BF rate of change is going to be off.

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